My first trip to Achill

The view from just outside our B&B at Teach Cruachan, Keel West, Dooagh.

There must be a million sheep on Achill – and I’ve met every one. They’re not minded to move out of the way when you meet them on the road, and they are lurking around every corner.

Ireland isn’t exactly a large country, but I’ve missed out on seeing so much of it. The past few years we have been trying to rectify that, but I still can’t believe we had never been to Achill before, but our recent three-day trip made amends. And let me state honestly, three days isn’t enough – you need at least a week, something we hope to do, perhaps next year.

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I could describe the beauty of the island, the incredible sights that greeted us around every corner, but words hardly do justice to it. I barely scratched the surface on a brief visit, so here are just a couple of thoughts.

Our B&B, Teach Cruachan at Dooagh in Keel West is ideally situated between Gielty’s where you can eat and drink, and Lourdie’s, a favoured watering spot for regular visitors. The other advantage is the proximity of the majestic Keem Bay beach which is just over the hill. (see pictures below.) There are also some lovely beaches elsewhere on the island, so you’re spoilt for choice.

Getting around by car isn’t difficult, but if you have the energy and the time hire a bike and explore at your leisure. There are also lots of walkers around. Shame on me for not knowing you can drive onto Achill. ATM machines are scarce, so scarce the only ones are at Achill Sound, so you’ve been warned, although using your credit or debit card is no problem.

I was surprised at the number of cemeteries on what is a relatively small island, while the deserted village provides a fascinating glimpse into the past. The natives are very friendly and like nothing better than to chat. Looking around at so many derelict and abandoned buildings was sad though, and several locals lamented the continuing population decline. There simply aren’t enough jobs to keep younger people on the island.

Part of the deserted village on Achill.
Part of the deserted village on Achill.
Trish beside the monument to world champion boxer Johnny Kilbane
Trish beside the monument to world champion boxer Johnny Kilbane
The view as you come over the road from Keel West to Keem Bay. Gorgeous sight.
The view as you come over the road from Keel West to Keem Bay. Gorgeous sight.
Another view of the beach at Keem
Another view of the beach at Keem
Keem beach with Trish  checking out the sand.
Keem beach with Trish checking out the sand.

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So now that you’ve seen these pictures you have no excuse. Go and see Achill.
We stayed in Teach Cruachán at Dooagh. That’s the view from the front of the B&B at the top of this blog. Contact Róisin Lavelle at 098-43301 or email teachcruachan@eircom.net. Check out the website at http://www.teachcruachan.com

For information on Achill and what it has to offer Achill Tourism is a great resource. http://www.achilltourism.com

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